Are You a Prudent Healthcare Consumer?

As technology contrives to find faster modes of transportation of people and goods, safety considerations are thought of and in-built. Innovation continues today, and transport researchers are working to find new ways to reduce costs and increase transport efficiency. Clearly, we are exposed to risk when we travel, but how much risk? And, how much are we prepared to pay to reduce that risk? We strive for ‘zero accidents’ but that cannot
be achieved without costs.philips

We live in a world of aggressive and unhealthy consumerism which costs not only our money but also our health. Consumerism in healthcare has gone to the extremes with the result that the patient takes almost everything for granted. It is high time to be prudent in choosing healthcare services. Look at this alarming statistics: more people die each year from avoidable errors in hospitals than from traffic accidents, HIV, or breast cancer. In addition, 1.5 million people are injured from medication errors, and another 2 million experience hospital-acquired infection. Of course, we can put the blame on poor healthcare policies and lack of proper legislation to ensure standard healthcare, safety and fair pricing in healthcare. However, one main reason for mistakes and errors that are so common is patients; the healthcare consumers often take things for granted and blindly believe that everything is all right until they swallow the bitter pill.

Latest studies reveal that more than half of the much publicised health care centres/hospitals across the globe and especially in developing countries have been graded very low in respect of healthcare safety standards. Patients at these hospitals were far more likely to die from an error, get a serious infection, or develop an avoidable complication. Yet all the major insurance companies cover care at these hospitals in case of developed countries.

Advertising convinces consumers that big-name, shiny-building facilities are great places to get care. Sadly, hospitals with low safety ratings still get a large number of patients. Why? Because patients do not spend time reading reviews, or they assume that because their doctor recommended it, it must be good.

(Subscribe to read the full article in the October 2015 Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine)

Author: SubEditor

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